Traumatic Brain Injury, also known as TBI, is a potentially devastating medical emergency often caused by a motor vehicle accident. You can receive significant brain damage even in a seemingly mild collision.
TBIs are a significant cause of about 30 percent of all deaths and disability from accidents. Many TBI victims incur life-long disabilities that can also affect their family’s quality of life through loss of income, emotional disturbances and difficult at-home care.
Myth #1: Since you did not hit your head or pass out, nothing is wrong
To receive a TBI, you do not have to lose consciousness. Traumatic brain injury is not always evident at the time of an accident. TBI can occur without hitting your head. Symptoms often do not appear for days, weeks or months. Without immediate medical intervention, you could risk permanent disability or death. Any time you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, seek medical attention. In a sudden vehicle deceleration, the soft brain tissue can forcefully strike the rigid skull enclosure.
Myth #2: Your head does not hurt, so you do not have a brain injury
Even serious brain injuries can exist without causing pain. When an ambulance medic asks if you feel any pain, explain that you are worried about a closed head injury due to sudden vehicle deceleration. Insist on transportation to the hospital for a neurological evaluation. If you experience symptoms of TBI days or weeks later, call an ambulance or ask someone to drive you to the emergency room.
Myth #3: Your brain injury is mild enough to heal completely
Unfortunately, not everyone recovers from a TBI. Research shows that up to 25 percent of all mild TBI vehicle accident injuries cause permanent disability. A CT scan or an MRI may not show physical brain abnormalities; however, TBIs can cause a chemical chain reaction that continues to negatively affect the brain over time.
When you are the victim of a motor vehicle accident, remember to get everyone in your vehicle checked for neurological injuries. Over the next several weeks, stay alert and watch for any behavior changes that may indicate brain trauma. Even without observable behavior differences, if you feel something is not right, trust your instincts and seek medical testing.